Dave Franco’s second directorial effort, Somebody I Used to Know (2023), isn’t quite as memorable as his first (The Rental), but it does something similar, leaning into its genre trappings and executing them adroitly. Alison Brie (who co-wrote the script) stars as a reality television producer named Ally, who heads home to visit her mother in the Pacific Northwest. A frustrated documentarian who turned to reality TV to pay the bills, Ally is newly questioning her life choices in the wake of her show’s cancellation. When she randomly encounters her ex-boyfriend Sean (Jay Ellis), she starts to wonder if it’s a second chance to resurrect the relationship, which she abandoned to pursue her career in LA. Their day of magical reconnection crashes against the rocks, however, when Ally learns that Sean is getting married that very weekend to a young, free-spirited punk rocker, Cassidy (Kiersey Clemons). Recklessly, Ally decides to seize the opportunity and win Sean back before it’s too late, which puts her into a rivalry, and then an unexpected friendship, with Cassidy.
There’s nothing earth-shattering about Somebody I Used to Know, but it’s a well paced romcom that coasts along on Brie’s charisma and a nicely articulated message about its genre. Particularly fun is getting to see Brie work with her former Community castmate Danny Pudi again; he headlines a fine supporting group that includes Clemons, Ellis, Julie Hagerty, Ayden Mayeri, and Haley Joel Osment, along with an amusing cameo from The Afterparty co-stars Zoë Chao and Sam Richardson. While not quite as unique a take on its genre as The Rental was on the horror-thriller, provides further evidence of Franco’s filmmaking versatility when playing in genre sandboxes, on an appealing indie-film scale.